Need for closure and mediation: Effects of epistemic motivation on strategy perseverance and hypothesis testing
Logan, Chris R.
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A. W. Kruglanski developed the construct of need for (nonspecific) closure (NFC) as part of his theory of lay epistemics to account for individual differences in motivation to reach conclusions quickly. The present research investigated individual differences in NFC in the context of mediation (process of a neutral third party assisting two parties in conflict to reach consensus). Two studies were conducted to examine the influence of NFC on mediators' choices of strategies and tactics. In Study 1, Introductory Psychology students participated in a computer simulated mediation. The mediation strategies of the participants were largely unrelated to NFC. However, some findings supported the hypotheses. The high (versus low) NFC participants did demonstrate a truncated confidence range. Also, the decisiveness subscale of the NFC scale was significantly correlated with the strategy of pressing. The integration strategy was not significantly correlated with scores on the NFC scale, but categorizing (via median split) the mediators as high and low NFC resulted in a significant difference in integration as tested by a multivariate analysis. The low (versus high)NFC participants were more likely to use the integrating strategy. For Study 2, practicing mediators at the South Plains Association of Governments Dispute Resolution Center completed a mailed survey. Again, the NFC constmct was not associated with differences in mediation style. The more decisive mediators were more likely to use the strategy of pressing than less decisive mediators. Lawyers were more likely to use an evaluative style than non-lawyers. Mediators who adopted a broad perspective in mediation were more likely to take an eclectic approach than more narrowly focused mediators. Although the NFC construct as a whole was not related in either study to differences in mediation style, the decisiveness subscale was related to mediator style. The results also supported the eclectic nature of many of the mediators.